(Reuters) – Home favourite Fabio Quartararo edged out Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller to claim his third MotoGP pole position of the season at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans on Saturday.
Championship leader Quartararo powered through the final sector at the Bugatti Circuit to produce a near-faultless lap of one minute 31.315 seconds, finishing 0.222 clear of Miller.
Petronas Yamaha’s Quartararo will be starting at the front of the grid for the first time since the second round in Jerez in July.
“It feels special because the conditions were really tricky,” the 21-year-old said.
“I was very confident after yesterday’s practice sessions. I knew where we had to improve and where we could take the risk.
“I think we have the pace to
The dry conditions in FP3 meant improvements on Friday afternoon’s best efforts were immediate, with Quartararo the first bike mover on the combined order as he leaped from 11th to third.
Petronas SRT teammate Franco Morbidelli improved to second, while Valentino Rossi on the works Yamaha moved up to sixth.
With just seven minutes of the session gone, Quartararo had bettered Jack Miller’s 1m34.356s from FP2 with a 1m33.779s and improved to a 1m33.400s a few moments later.
Yamaha took control of the top of the timesheets from this point, with Quartararo going even quicker with a 1m33.301s before Morbidelli edged ahead with a 1m33.279s.
Quartararo once again deposed his teammate with a sequence of session-best laps which culminated in a 1m32.974s.
The Frenchman returned to top spot with 12 minutes to go following another brief spell leading the standings by Morbidelli, with Quartararo lowering the pace to a 1m32.319s